As with both of yesterday’s group finales, this afternoon’s pair of matches feature three teams battling over the two qualification spots and one useless team who are already out. In Group D, the useless team are of course England, a source of great pride for everyone back at home. However, the World Cup is always better for getting rid of the chaff and besides, a much-changed England team can still affect today’s action even if it isn’t in their own favour. Their opponents, Costa Rica, are already through to the knockout stages for only the second time in their history, but they need a draw to guarantee that they will top the group and avoid a probable last-16 tie against an impressive Colombia.
The other match is far more intriguing. One of Italy or Uruguay are going to depart today and their fate is entirely in their own hands in what promises to be a fascinating shootout. A draw will suffice for the Italians, while Uruguay must win. Both teams have played one really impressive match (against England) and one absolute stinker (against Costa Rica) so there’s no real clue there. In terms of the form guide, Uruguay’s impressive match was the more recent but there are question marks about whether or not the team are over-reliant on the brilliant Luis Suarez. Both teams can still mathematically win the group, too, so there may be additional rewards to pushing on and going for goals.
Join us here just before 5 to find out what happens. Will Uruguay do it? Will Italy play for the draw with utterly predictable consequences? Or will the Italian team switch on and make all these questions look redundant? Whether or not England will win is a non-question: they almost inevitably will. 3-0.
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